The marsh of Grimaud, 1913
Oil on canvas
Signed lower right
Size: 85 x 123cm
Reproduced in André Michel, “Paintings and Pastels of René Ménard”, Paris, Librairie Armand Collin, p. 56
René Ménard was born into a family of intellectuals from the Parisian bourgeoisie. Son of the secretary of Decorative Arts in Paris, he grew up surrounded by painting and art. The famous painters of history surround and frequent his family; Corot, Millet and the Barbizon School painters. He studied at the Académie Julian in 1880, where he met Paul Baudry, William Bouguereau and Henri Lehmann.
He exhibited at the Salon de la Secession in Munich, at the Salon de la Libre Esthetique in Brussels, joined the Black Band group, which rejected the light colors of post-Impressionism, the dominant aesthetic at the turn of the century. The painter was appointed professor at the Grande Chaumière in 1904, he exhibited many times at the Georges Petit gallery. The end of his career is haloed by the great cycles that the State commands him, from the Sorbonne to the Institute of Chemistry; the State made him an Officer of the Legion of Honor in 1910.
This painting illustrates the preoccupations of the painter’s maturity. Although solicited by state orders, he never ceases to look at the facts of nature. This time, it represents nature occupied by man, finely metaphorized by the two cows, certainly from a shepherd’s herd. The marshes of Grimaud are a fertile land between Saint-Tropez and Sainte-Maxime. He reinterprets the luminous landscapes of the South of France. The painting is tinged with the twilight glow that the artist gives to his paintings.
• In Paris, Musée d’Orsay (about ten paintings), Petit Palais.
• In France: Museum of Fine Arts in Bordeaux, Nantes, Strasbourg, Chur. .
• In Europe: Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp; Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels; Luxembourg, Helsingfors, Munich,
from Liège, Ghent, Stockholm,
• Internationally: Karlsruhe, Solothurn, Winterthur.
Gorky Leninsky’s mansion in Moscow.
• Emmanuel Bénézit, Dictionary of painters, sculptors, designers and engravers , t. 9, Librairie Gründ, reed. 1976, p. 479
• André Michel, “Paintings and Pastels by René Ménard”, Paris, Librairie Armand Collin, 1923, p. 56
• Jean-David Jumeau-Lafond, The painters of the soul: idealist symbolism in France ,[catalogue de l’exposition du musée d’Ixelles] , Brussels, Snoeck-Ducaju & Zoon, 1999.